NEW CUMBERLAND-Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher's efforts to reform the department's rank structure continued Thursday with the promotion of five deputies to the rank of sergeant.
The promotions, approved Thursday by Hancock County commissioners, were necessitated by the creation of the lieutenant's position in February, Fletcher said. Five officers, including Chief Deputy Art Watson, were promoted to the rank of lieutenant then.
Fletcher wants lieutenants who will take on more supervisory responsibilities, assist with the day-to-day operations of the department, help oversee training and performance evaluations, and provide input on policy matters.
Each shift now has two road deputies, a sergeant and a lieutenant. The department currently has 28 sworn officers, with the addition of two new deputies in May.
The new sergeants are: Eric Cline, Chad Lamp, Chris Waide, Matt Harvey and Joe Kaufman. Waide and Harvey also are detectives.
The sergeants were the five highest scorers on the civil service exam given in October 2013. Each will get a $100-a-month raise, adding $6,000 to the sheriff's annual budget, Fletcher said.
Also Thursday, commissioners:
* Approved a special projects expenditure of $35,951 to outfit and equip five new sheriff's vehicles-three Ford Police Interceptors and two sport-utility vehicles.
* Agreed to put the Hancock County Library Excess Levy on the ballot for Nov. 4. The renewal levy generates an estimated $200,000 a year for the county's three libraries in Chester, New Cumberland and Weirton.
* Added funding requests from the Chester-Newell FISH and the Northern Panhandle Resource Conservation and Development Council to the special projects fund list. The funding requests will be voted on in late July or early August.
* Entered into an agreement with the Community Participation Grant Program on behalf of the Newell Community Improvement Coalition for a $5,000 grant for Laurel Hollow Park.
* Entered into an agreement with the Community Participation Grant Program on behalf of the Hancock County Animal Shelter Foundation for a $4,000 grant for the animal shelter.
* Entered into an agreement with the Division of Justice and Community Services for an $84,955 grant to outfit the new Hancock County Magistrate Court with security equipment.
* Approved a 2014-2015 Juvenile Mediation Grant of $150,000.
* Reappointed Connie Gettinger, Kathy White and James Whitecotton to the Northern Panhandle HOME Consortium.